This position paper outlines and discusses LEAF’s position on Canada’s sex work laws. Among other recommendations, it calls for full decriminalization of sex work done by adults – an important first step to ensure that sex workers in Canada can live freely and exercise their agency, including exercising their right to autonomy, dignity, and equality.

For more information on the position, check out these FAQs or keep reading below.

LEAF’s position on sex work is guided by six principles, which are informed by an evidence- and human rights-based approach to sex work:

  1. Recognizing the harms of criminalization that threaten the safety of sex workers, especially for Black, Indigenous, and racialized sex workers;
  2. Respecting sex workers’ rights to autonomy, dignity, and equality;
  3. Gender inclusion;
  4. Recognizing the context informing decisions to engage in sex work and respecting the agency of sex workers;
  5. Respecting the diversity of sex workers’ experiences; and
  6. Distinguishing sex work from trafficking.

Guided by these principles, LEAF makes six recommendations:

  1. Repeal all sex work-specific provisions in the Criminal Code applicable to sex work done by adults;
  2. Repeal immigration regulations that prohibit temporary residents and foreign nationals from working in the sex industry;
  3. Ensure that social supports – including income supports – are accessible and barrier-free for sex workers;
  4. With meaningful consultation and input from sex workers, commit to reviewing and reforming employment standards legislation to determine the best path forward in ensuring safe working conditions for sex workers;
  5. Meaningfully consult with sex workers about laws and policies (including their implementation) that directly impact their lives; and
  6. Improve access to gender-affirming healthcare and social services.

This paper was prepared by Rosel Kim and Pam Hrick.

Read and download the Position Paper, and the Executive Summary.